Useful Stuff to Know » article » Privacy: How to Browse the Internet Anonymously » Nov 12, 07:04 PM

Privacy: How to Browse the Internet Anonymously

Internet Service Providers are notorious for snooping on their customers, using automated monitoring of what you do online. They are more than happy to rat you out to law enforcement, government, and other corporations without search warrants because privacy laws have evaporated. Your search queries, browsing patterns, chat logs, and other online activity are tapped and used to build a profile of you, to assess your potential threat level and where you will be should you ever need to be taken in. Most of this monitoring happens at a local/regional level, therefore bypassing that level is the most effective way of restoring some of your privacy.

To do that, your computer must be connected to a remote trusted server via an encrypted connection (a ‘tunnel’) and from that point on everything you do, every site you visit, will appear as though it were coming from that server. Since lots of others are likewise using that server, it’s very difficult to sort what traffic comes from which specific individual. Your IP address (which identifies you on the net) remains hidden, and that server’s address is used instead. This is an oversimplification but it’s basically what happens.

One of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest privacy services is NordVPN, which for $5 per month (on a year plan) will accomplish precisely this. It lets you bypass firewalls, web filters, and prevents your local ISP from logging your online activities (logs that are otherwise forwarded to snoops). So check out NordVPN and see if it fits your needs.

One note, however. If you want even greater anonymity you must disable IPv6 (which is like a new secondary IP address) because Google uses your IPv6 address, and not just your regular IP (such as 123.456.7.8), to identify you and your location. For example, go to news.google.com and see if your location shows up on the right column as local news stories. IPv6 cloaking by NordVPN will be implemented in 2015. For now, if you are on OSX you can disable iPV6 via these instructions. Even if you don’t, you can still gain much from using a VPN service.